Saying frequent elections impeded development and reiterating his call for ‘One Nation, One Election’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a deep study and discussion on the subject. The PM also advocated a common voter list for all elections.
Addressing the All India Presiding Officers’ Conference at Kevadiya in Gujarat on the occasion of Constitution Day, Modi, speaking through video conference from Delhi, said, “One Nation, One Election sirf ek charcha ka vishay nahin hain, balki ye Bharat ki jaroorat hain. Har kuch mahine me Bharat me kahin na kahin chunav ho rahe hote hain. Isse vikas ke karyon par jo prabhav padta hain, use aap sab bhali-bhanti jaante hain. Aise me One Nation One Election par gahan adhyayan aur manthan avashyak hai (One Nation, One Election is not just a subject of discussion, but the need of the nation. Every few months, elections are being held in some place or the other in India. You are all well aware of the effect of frequent elections on development work. In such a situation, it is necessary to have a deep study and discussion on One Nation, One Election).”
On the need for a common voter list, the PM said, “Lok Sabha ho, Vidhan Sabha ho, ya panchayat chunav ho, iske liye ek hi voter list kaam me aaye, iske liye hamein sab se pehle raasta banana hoga (First, we have to make way for a common voter list, whether it is Lok Sabha, Assembly or panchayat elections). Today we have separate voter lists for every election. Why are we spending? Why are we wasting time?.”
He was addressing the concluding session of the two-day conference held on the theme of ‘Harmonious coordination between Legislature, Executive and Judiciary – Key to a Vibrant Democracy’.
In his speech that lasted around 30 minutes, Modi invoked Mahatma Gandhi while stressing on the need for citizens to perform their duties as prescribed in the Constitution. “Friends, our Constitution has many special features. But one very special feature is the importance given to duties. Mahatma Gandhi himself was very keen about this. He saw a close link between rights and duties. He felt that once we perform our duties, rights will be safeguarded,” Modi said.
Modi also called for a campaign to popularise the Constitution of India among the youth, tweaking the common ‘KYC’ to ‘Know Your Constitution’.
“Friends, our attempts should be such that common citizens have a wider understanding of the Constitution. For that, it is very important to know and understand the Constitution. Nowadays, we hear ‘KYC’. It is a very common word that means Know Your Customer. It has been a very important aspect of digital security. Similarly, KYC in a new form: Know Your Constitution,” Modi said.
Urging presiding officers to take the lead in popularising the Constitution among the youth, the PM called for campaigns to spread awareness about the document, especially in schools and colleges.
Modi said that the language used in the Constitution is often beyond the reach of the common citizens for whom it is framed. He said the language should be simple and urged Speakers to help with that task.
Later, speaking to the media after the conference, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said a committee has been set up under the chairmanship of CP Joshi, Speaker of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly, to discuss financial autonomy for state legislatures. “A number of legislatures have expressed their opinion that they should also have financial autonomy, the way it exists in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha… After this committee submits its report, we will discuss the issue with chief ministers and try to see if all legislatures can have financial autonomy on the lines of Parliament,” Birla said.